1 Samuel 6:19, Don’t look in there!

Then He struck the men of Beth Shemesh, because they had looked into the ark of the LORD. He struck fifty thousand and seventy men of the people, and the people lamented because the LORD had struck the people with a great slaughter.

//There’s some confusion in translating this verse; most ancient Hebrew texts read 70 men, not 5,070. Some say the correct reading is 70 men and 50 oxen.

But what’s the big deal? They peeked in the ark, and God struck them down. Shades of the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark (which does, indeed, draw themes from today’s verse).

Here’s the deal. The Law, capital L, resided within the ark. The tablets of the covenant, which Moses brought down the mountain from God, were frightening and often meant death. But sitting atop the ark was God’s “mercy seat,” and from there, from between two cherubim, God spoke to Moses (see Numbers 7:89). The Mercy Seat served as a covering for the ark, a reconciliation.

So, for the people to peek in the ark, they had to first remove its covering of mercy, exposing the Law’s undiluted, frightful power. Pow!


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